Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Recently I submitted this year’s entries for The HP Lovecraft micro fiction contest. I have been working on entries all year and have whittled it down to the five I would submit. These two did not make the cut, not because I didn’t like them but because the others seemed more in line for what the contest judges were looking for.
They were written independently form each other, it’s just a coincidence that they are both centered around relationships. This is kind of ironic since the only couple I remember from HPL stories is the woman who got married to the cultist in The Horror of Red Hook who got sacrificed by him on their wedding night, and Edward Derby and Asenath, who was possessed by her father. (I am not counting the couple in Ash since it was a revision and I think Lovecraft had very little to do with the plot, or Jack Manly and Ermengrad in Sweet Ermengrad [Lovecraft’s attempt at a rags to riches rom com] since it was ever published in his life time.)
The first one Bridge Town of course takes place in Portland Oregon and is based on the Lovejoy columns. Bridge coulombs that still exist in down town Portland where a Greek night watchman drew pictures of Greek mythology and wild beasts on the bridge supports, in the 50’s.
The second one Original Gods is about a woman who is love with someone who can only love himself, and the outlandish length she will go to try to win his heart. It also touches on the difference between a Wiccan and a mythos cultist and what happens when you cross the line that separates the two. It features HPL’s MI-Go’s an alien race that is so utterly alien that they are not animal or vegetable, and whose molecules vibrate at a different rate than terrestrial ones do, so animals and humans notice something unearthly in their presence. But at the some part we can still understand them psychologically, they need metals so the build mines on remote mountain tops so they have some form of industry. They are curious and scientist who kid nap human brains to understand their better.
By David Heath
Word count: 504.
Karl led Marla down the muddy path to the old bridge columns. They made a curious pair, he was an anthropology grad student always talking about the Pnakotic manuscripts or the Tcho-tcho people, and she was a physics major studying superposition and worm holes. Somehow despite their different inclinations they seemed to complement each other, and somehow found strange and esoteric connections between their fields of study.
The columns on the East bank of the Willamette were all that remained of the old bridge. Five decades ago a man named Demetri Demopoulos, lived in a shack on the riverbank. Greek in origin he claimed to be from someplace even farther, a mystic and a mathematician, he carved strange symbols on the bridges columns, which can still be made out today. Some were mathematical in origin, others come from alchemy, others seem to be Kabalistic in nature, and some seemed as if they might be words of a strange non-human language. Demopoulos vanished a few days before the Bridge collapsed into the River, during a freak winter storm.
Karl held his flashlight in one hand and Marla’s hand in the other. He shined his light on the etching, and said. “Some say it’s a spell.” Marla said that she would have to see the etchings in person to really understand them. Photographs couldn’t capture the minute details or beauty of the carvings. Karl was sure that there was some importance of it being carved on bridge supports, it was more than just random art, there was meaning and a semblance to why it was done here, and he wanted to personally see the lay of the land.
Marla giggled in delight. “No not a spell, it’s a mathematical formula.”
“It’s both.” Karl insisted. They had gone over every detail of the photos of the column in their apartment, but it was not like seeing it in person. “Do you think you know where he went wrong?”
Marla bit her lip. “Yes.” She said softly as she pulled a sharpened metal bar from her rucksack and began to etch into the weathered column. They spent the whole night in the cold and rainy Portland night. She worked on completing the formula as Karl dutifully held the flashlight. Finally she stepped back and took his hand. After half a century, the Demopoulos formula was finally completed. As the sun begin to rise the carving seemed to glow as she placed her head on his shoulder and he squeezed her hand. They weren’t sure what was supposed to happen next, but like everything else in the last year and a half, they would find out together.
The next day the search party found Karl’s old army surplus flashlight by the columns of the Lovejoy Bridge. The couple’s foot prints approaching the bridge were seen clearly in the mud, but no one ever found any prints of either of them leading away from the bridge. The disappearance of Karl Thrice and Marla Marsh is still an open missing person’s case.
By David Heath
Word Count: 498.
Tabatha Payne was a witch. Well more to the point she was a Wiccan, she was into nature magic, potions and spirits. She claimed that since her practices pre-dated other established religions, her beliefs where more powerful than the others. She was wickedly smart, I’d even call her brilliant. She could hold a conversation on theology, anthropology, or philosophy. I don’t think she dated much before Ken.
Ken Jensen was Tabby’s first real boyfriend. He was nowhere close to her intellectual equal, but with his thin frame, Fu Manchu goatee, and man bun, he was prettier than her in a hipster sort of way. Their relationship revolved around him borrowing money and belittling her. When they visited the bookstore I got the distinct impression he felt he was slumming, both in his location and with his company.
Once assuming I didn’t have other customers, Tabby would come to the shop and we would have long meandering conversations, about archeology and folklore. After Ken her visits where less frequent, she didn’t stay as long and when we did talk, it was about how Ken was treating her like dirt, then convinced her it was her fault. She confided that not only had she been saying prayers to ancient love goddess, she’d tried to cast a glamour spell on herself to make him find her more attractive. Once in desperation she even tried a love potion. These didn’t seem to help the rocky relationship though.
One day she told me she needed something older and more powerful than the gods and the goddess she worship to keep her true love. She said she had read about somethings called the Mi-go that they were the original gods, and predated the existence of mankind. She begged me to get hold of a book called the Yugothian Verses, to help her. If she summoned them, they would help her show Ken that she was more than her pathetic body, they would show him a world where the mind was greater than the physical.
In college I had a run afoul with some dark forces, I was lucky to escape with my sanity and my life. I warned her that the Mi-go were not gods but were dangerous entities. That if Ken didn’t realize what he had with her, she should drop him right away. That I would not help her start down such a dangerous path. She screamed at me as she stormed out the of the shop, that I didn’t know what love was, and that she would find the book herself.
It was two weeks later that I read about their bodies. The paper said that the top of their skulls and brains were removed with surgical precession. There were no other marks on Tabby or Ken’s body. She should have been careful for what she wished for. If the Mi-go have a shred of mercy maybe they’ll keep the cylinders that house their brains next to each other on the same shelf.